Coronavirus cases are up 55% in the last week as the highly contagious delta variant spreads throughout the country, according to Axios.

Why is the delta variant more contagious?

The delta variant has concerned experts for months because it has led to more infections, a result of the virus being more contagious and transmissible.

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Experts primarily expressed concern that the delta variant had a high viral load, which means that infected people contained more viral particles of the variant, making it easier to spread, according to Forbes.

  • Eric Topol, a scientist and physician, explained on Twitter: “Part of the challenge that delta presents may be tied to this finding. The variant’s viral load ~1,000X higher than previous strains (reflected by low CTs), more infectious in the early stages of the illness.
  • Per Fortune, a high viral load means the virus can spread quicker at an earlier stage in its life cycle. Soon enough, the virus variant will spread so far that it becomes harder to contain.

Another reason delta spread so fast

Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, recently told Insider that the delta variant has also been spreading because of “the fact that everybody’s stopped wearing a mask and just basically stopped most precautions.”

  • “You cannot explain the explosive epidemic in Scotland, in a pretty highly vaccinated population, if they’re not playing a role in transmission,” Murray said, according to Insider.
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What to do if you think you have COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a number of steps you should take if you think you’ve been infected with the novel coronavirus:

  • Stay home if you’ve been exposed.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Get tested for the coronavirus.